“IN THE RAW, THICK MOMENT, THE CAMERA IS A PROTECTION. AT THE SAME TIME: AN OPENING, SOILED AND WOUNDED, SO CLOSE THAT YOU CAN´T SHIELD YOURSELF.”
Anders Petersen’s Color Lehmitz presents a selection of analogue contact sheets from the years 1967–70. From these original contact sheets, Petersen chose the copies that later became the book Café Lehmitz. A legendary series of images depicting an all-night café in the port area of Hamburg. A place where many different fates congregated: sailors, dock workers, neighborhood residents, prostitutes, young drifters, or aging people trying to hold on to some kind of vigor.
There is no censorship, editing, or cut negatives. All mistakes, just like all the magnificent moments and personal notes, are still there. We face the confusion, and the contradictions in each moment, where mistakes also appear to be significant.
The photographic series Café Lehmitz is considered epoch-making for subjective photography. Among the pictures we find copies and series that have never been shown before. We see Petersen’s mark- ings and brutal method of crossing out what is not good. Different colors and signs account for selection for books and exhibitions over the years. There is an apparent self-recognition with vulnerable people. The driving force is to give a voice to others, and the need to express oneself eventually becomes a way of life.
“The people at Lehmitz had a presence and a sincerity that I myself lacked. You were allowed to be desperate, tender, sit by yourself, or become part of the community. In the vulnerability, there was a lot of warmth and tolerance.” – Anders Petersen
The photos from Café Lehmitz become a kind of family album. The photographer lived, and spent time, with the visitors and regulars for an extended period of time. Nothing human seems foreign to Petersen, and nothing is indifferent. This may be why he still constantly carries his camera around on his belt.
The exhibition Color Lehmitz invites the visitor to get to know Petersen and the intuitively and curious way he takes his pictures. The images place the visitor close to the photographer, behind the camera.
Curator Angie Åström
ANDERS PETERSEN was born in Stockholm 1944. He studied at Christer Strömholm’s School of Photography (1966–68) and at Dramatiska Institutet (1973–74). He had his international breakthrough with the photo-book Café Lehmitz in 1978, which was followed by about 30 published books. Among prizes and awards can be mentioned: The Arles Photographer of the Year Award, 2003; the Jury’s Special Prize for the exhibition Exaltation of Humanity, during the third international photography festival in Lianzhou, China, 2007; the Dr. Erich Salomon Award of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie, 2008; The Arles Contemporary Book Award together with JH Engström for From Back Home, 2009. Furthermore, Petersen received Paris Photo and the Aperture Foundation Photo Book of the Year Award, 2012, for City Diary, and Lennart af Petersen’s prize, 2019.
Anders Petersen’s work is represented in the collections of Fotografiska Stockholm, The Museum of Modern Art New York, Hasselblad Center Gothenburg, The Bibliothèque nationale de France Paris, Centre Pompidou Paris, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Moderna Museet Stockholm, Maison Européenne de la Photographie Paris, Museum Folkwang Essen, and Fotomuseum Winterthur, among others. He’s had both solo- and group exhibitions regularly around the world since 1969.
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